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September 28, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

Ja Morant, the all-star point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, is a human highlight reel. The way he jumps over opponents on his massive power dunks changes the way you think about the game. How is he doing what he’s doing?

We’ve got a unicorn in Memphis, my hometown. Every once in a while, certain players come along and really change the culture of the game. Ja is emerging as a face of the NBA for good reason. The only thing missing for him is championship hardware. I know he’s going to go after it hard this season.

He really exemplifies Memphis because of his mix of toughness, confidence, and humility. He brings joy to people around him. You see it in his interactions with fans, especially young ones. You see it in the clip that went viral this summer, when Ja surprised a waitress with a $500 tip. You see it in the heel-­tapping dance, the “Griddy,” that he’s helped popularize.

That joy is just Ja’s nature. He is who he is, and he demands respect. Because he’s so damn good.

Timberlake is a musician, actor, and minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies

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